Smartphone-based magneto-immunosensor on carbon black modified screen-printed electrodes for point-of-need detection of aflatoxin B1 in cereals

Safiye Jafari, Loïc Burr, Davide Migliorelli, Roger Galve, M.-Pilar Marco, Katrina Campbell, Chris Elliott, Michele Suman, Shana J. Sturla, Silvia Generelli

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Considering the complexities and speed of modern food chains, there is an increasing demand for point-of-need detection of food contaminants, particularly highly regulated chemicals and carcinogens such as aflatoxin B1. We report a user-friendly smartphone-based magneto-immunosensor on carbon black modified electrodes for point-of-need detection of aflatoxin B1 in cereals. For buffered analyte solutions and a corn extract sample, the assay demonstrated a low limit of detection of 13 and 24 pg/mL, respectively. The assay was also highly reproducible, exhibiting mean relative standard deviations of 3.7% and 4.0% for the buffered analyte and corn extract samples. The applicability of the assay was validated on the basis of EU guidelines and the detection capability was lower than or equal to 2 μg/kg, which is the EU maximum residue limit for aflatoxin B1 in cereals. False-positive and false-negative rates were less than 5%. Additionally, an open-source android application, AflaESense, was designed to provide a simple interface that displays the result in a traffic-light-type format, thus minimizing user training and time for data analysis. AflaESense was used for smartphone-based screening of spiked corn samples containing aflatoxin B1 (0.1, 2, and 10 ng/mL), and naturally contaminated corn containing 0.15 ng aflatoxin B1/mL. The measured values were in close agreement with spiked concentrations (r = 0.99), with recovery values ranging between 80 and 120%. Finally, contaminated samples correctly triggered a red alert while the non-contaminated samples led to the display of a green color of AflaESense. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first smartphone-based electrochemical system effective for screening samples for contamination with aflatoxin B1.
Original languageEnglish
Article number340118
JournalAnalytica Chimica Acta
Early online date06 Jul 2022
Publication statusPublished - 15 Aug 2022


  • Smartphone-based immunosensor
  • Carbon black
  • Electrochemical biosensor
  • Point-of-need detection
  • Aflatoxin B1
  • Validation


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